What is an MBChB Degree?
An MBChB degree is a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery degree. Other common abbreviations include MBBS, or MB BChir. This is the primary medical degree awarded in a range of different countries that follow the tradition of the United Kingdom in awarding medical degrees. The way in which the degree name is created shows the two distinct undergraduate degrees which were once seen as the two types of Medicine – the chirurgiae (surgery) and the medicinae (medicine). However, today the two degrees are conferred together, and may be awarded as an undergraduate or graduate level degree. In general in China, Australia and some UK schools, the primary medical degree is the MB (Bachelor of Medicine). However, this still confers the ability to practise surgery. In North America, the MD (Doctor of Medicine) and DO (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) both confer the ability to practise. Those transferring to the US can list their MBBS, MBChB etc as MD.
History of UK Medical Degrees
The MBChB is currently awarded in the UK and other countries that were once part of the British Empire. Additionally, US and Canadian institutions also used to confer this degree type in the past, largely due to their being founded or funded by physicians and surgeons who had trained in England or Scotland. The switch from the separate degrees of Bachelor of Medicine and Doctor of Medicine degrees happened in the UK in the mid 19th century, when both England and Scotland required practitioners to hold the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees. However, throughout the 19th century schools in the US began to switch to the previous method used in Scottish universities of simply conferring a ‘Doctor of Medicine’ degree. In countries that confer bachelor’s degrees for Medicine – like the UK, a ‘Doctor of Medicine’ degree actually denotes further research – in other words, those medical practitioners who have submitted a thesis within the medical field. In other words, they could be seen as a ‘double doctor’ having accomplished something akin to studying both Medicine and then receiving a PhD on top of this. Those that have an MBBS degree are nonetheless referred to using the courtesy title of Doctor.
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What are the different types of medical qualification used in the UK?
The different types of degree used across the UK for medical school degrees are as follows:
MB ChB is used at the universities of Aston, Anglia Ruskin, Birmingham, Bristol, Buckingham, Lancaster, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Keele, Manchester, Sheffield, Sunderland (in partnership with Keele) and Warwick.
-MB BCh is used by the Welsh universities, Cardiff University and Swansea University.
-MB, BCh, BAO is used at the Queen’s University, Belfast
-MB BS is used at all medical schools currently or previously part of the University of London (aka The United Hospitals) (Imperial College School of Medicine, UCL Medical School, King’s College London School of Medicine, Barts and The London School of Medicine and St George’s, University of London), Norwich Medical School, Hull York Medical School, Newcastle University, University of Central Lancashire and Ulster University (which is currently partnered with St George’s)
– BM BCh is awarded by the University of Oxford.
– BM BS is used at the University of Nottingham, University of Exeter, University of Plymouth, University of Southampton, Kent and Medway Medical School and Brighton and Sussex Medical School.
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– BM was previously awarded at the University of Southampton, although beginning in 2013 students have been awarded BMBS. This degree was equivalent to the MB ChB.
– MB BChir is awarded by the University of Cambridge.
At Oxford and Cambridge, the preclinical course leads to a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree, after which most students used to go elsewhere (but usually to one of the London teaching hospitals) to complete clinical training. However, in more recent years most Oxbridge students have remained in the same place to complete their clinical training.
All medical schools in Scotland (Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow) award MB ChB.